Put A Major Dent In Your Utility Bill With These Energy-Saving Tips
Despite the fact that energy prices have been coming down lately thanks to discoveries of new natural gas reserves, the average American still spends entirely too much on their energy bill. Here in the United States, we consume about a quarter of the globe’s total energy consumption – even though we only represent about five percent of the total population.
Since energy prices will really only move upward in the long-term, it’s useful to know a few simple strategies that will help you bring down your home’s energy costs. There’s always room for improvement, and with these tips, you won’t have to sacrifice much to start cutting down on home energy consumption.
Switching to CFL light bulbs and unplugging electronic devices when they’re not in use is always a good idea, but these aren’t the true culprits behind high household energy costs. It is instead heating and air conditioning that make up the lion’s share of most bills. According to Energy Star, heating and cooling represent nearly fifty percent of the annual total most people pay in utilities.
Of course, no one wants to be uncomfortably hot or cold in their own house. But you don’t really need to be in order to cut back on consumption. One great strategy that requires very little investment is to improve your home’s ability to trap hot or cold air (depending on the season) with great weather stripping and insulation. There are millions of doors and windows leaking conditioned air out and outdoor air in across the U.S. It’s an easily preventable issue, and can be solved without spending a fortune.
Similarly, that sunlight that streaks into your living room in the afternoon doesn’t just cause an annoying glare on the television screen. It can also warm up the room considerably. Invest in some high-quality sun blocking shades, and draw them on whichever side of the house the sun is on. You’ll still get natural light coming in from the other side of the house, but that direct sunlight hitting your windows – the kind that can make a room feel like a sauna – will be eliminated.
These strategies are great for stretches of two or three hot days in a row, but in the “dog days” of July and August, It can become unreasonable to keep the air conditioning off. When avoiding central cooling altogether is no longer an option, the key to savings is to use it as efficiently as possible. For most, this means keeping it well-maintained and setting up the vents in your home properly. Something as simple as an old air filter can really reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning system if left undiscovered. Also, if you’ve got a spare bedroom or dining room that is rarely used, close off the vents in those spots. These small steps, while they won’t totally eliminate your energy bill, can help to make your home more comfortable with greater efficiency.